Possible to be certified in two specialties?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by Xypathos, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Xypathos

    Xypathos Member
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    I have an interest in surgery (keep in mind I'm still in college, so I haven't started any medical training yet) but would like to eventually specialize in either neurosurgery, plastic, or cardio.

    I had spoken with a neurosurgeon that is friends with my mom about my interest and he said that the most important advice he could give me is: If you want to be the artisan of your craft, master the basics first. Do your Gen. Surg residency first and then do a neurosurgery fellowship. You'll respect yourself much more for it, as will others.

    Now, I never asked him if did this or if this was hindsight advice, but is it possible? I would assume so, but don't know.

    Can you do a Gen. Surgery residency first, get board certified and then jump to neurosurgery fellowship and get certified and practice in there?

    If you follow this route, what kind of time frame are you looking at? I'm under the impression that you have to practice first as a Gen. Surg. before you can get certified and I suspect that this adds to the length, but of course you'll be making a doctor's pay during those years after residency.

    Any advice would be benefitual, thank you.

    X
     
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  3. Never heard of a neurosurgery fellowship (besides the "abbreviated" one they have for internal medicine folks).
     
  4. Xypathos

    Xypathos Member
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    You very well may be correct, I used the word fellowship --- I believe the doctor I quoted used "training" but this conversation happened almost 4 years ago.

    But would going from Gen Surg to neuro just be too much? Are there benefits to being dual certified (assuming it's possible).

    Same questions exist as above.
     
  5. RichL025

    RichL025 Senior Member
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    Yes, it _would_ be too much.

    General surgery is a (minimum) 5 year residency.

    Neurosurgery is a seven (I believe) year residency. "Back in the day" it used to be a sub-specialty of general surgery, but it has been a completely seperate residency for quite a while.

    Aside from the basics (cutting, sewing) it is quite different than general surgery. It would be foolish to spend five years learning how to manipulate the GI tract in order to start playing in the brain or spine.
     
  6. Xypathos

    Xypathos Member
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    Point taken, thanks.
     
  7. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    The information given above is correct. Neurosurgery is no longer a subspecialty of General Surgery except in the fact that the first year is spent as a Designated Preliminary doing some General Surgery.

    The "basics" of General Surgery have so little to do with the practice of Neurosurgery that it is basically a waste of your time to train in both specialties. Perhaps your mother's friend isn't aware that the two fields are now separate.

    In answer to your title question, it IS possible, of course, to train in two specialties and to be board certified in two specialties. The most common example is training in General Surgery with a Board Certification in a fellowship, ie, Critical Care or Plastic Surgery.

    You do not necessarily need to practice in a field to be Board Certified. Many fields take their Board Certification exam while in training (Neurosurgery and Radiology are two that I know of). Others, such as General Surgery, generally take their Board Certification exam right after the completion of their residency - although you can take the exam at any time.

    Hope this clarifies things for you.
     

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